Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

Embarrassingly predictable?

with 2 comments

Here’s a powerpoint presentation from an excellent presentation given by Kirk Sorensen about the use of thorium as a nuclear energy resource.

Of course, the Powerpoint slides themselves are not as good as the whole presentation, and in and of themselves they can be a little hard to follow, without the presenter, but unfortunately you have to deal with that with any presentation where you’ve only had a chance to pick up the slides after the fact.

This presentation was prepared over a year ago – but I was only reading it last week. As for the title of this post – there was something, on a related note, that I found a little amusing.

Check out the 6th slide, in Kirk Sorensen’s presentation, and compare it to the oh-so-factual and educational graphics used in Joseph Romm’s recent post on GristMill. Isn’t it uncanny – just when you thought that nobody trying to construct a coherent (?) argument of some kind against the use of nuclear energy could actually be that silly.

Joe Romm has got another post up recently that’s worth looking at as well, in which he attempts to reinforce the notion that the linear-non-threshold hypothesis is somehow factually motivated, and that every little contribution to low doses of ionising radiation is dangerous. I’m sure some readers will be interested in going and leaving a comment in response to that.

Still, Romm deserves some credit for correctly pointing out that on the grounds of ionising radiation dose, as well as numerous other ecological and health impacts, coal-fired electricity generators are far more dangerous than nuclear power plants.

Also, in one final note, congratulations to Rod Adams on the momumental 100th episode of The Atomic Show podcast. That’s a monumental effort, producing 100 episodes of interesting, unique high-quality podcasting, interviews and commentary, and I look forward to the next 100 episodes to come.


2 Responses

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  1. My contention with Romm over the NLTH is simple. Empirical studies of nuclear workers longevity show that they live longer than the average person. Thus what ever health consequences nuclear workers might encounter from low level radiation, the health benefits of being a nuclear worker, far outweigh the adverse health consequences.

    I have also posted on Nuclear Green an analysis of a large scale study of multiple myeloma among nuclear workers. Researchers looked for records of workers “exposed to solvents, metals, welding fumes asbestos and other agents faced increased risks of multiple myeloma. . . Records of such exposures, however, were inadequate to enable the scientists to calculate increased risks accurately.”

    Without control for independent variables, no valid conclusion about the relative health effects of radiation exposure can be drawn. I suspect that the same problem exists for all studies of nuclear worker’s health.

    Charles Barton

    August 4, 2008 at 4:51 pm

  2. While I agree with Charles that confounding factors in studies of industrial exposure to low-level radiation have not been properly controlled for we also must note that there have been many studies done to other exposed populations that also negate the LNT.

    Joe Romm painted himself into a corner on this one and decided to make a stand rather than gracefully admit to error. His family’s connection to radon testing (which he openly admits, to his credit) only reinforces the view that the LNT results in a lot of stupid but expensive procedures where people and vendors can make a lot of money, thus entrenching this false standard through special interests.


    August 8, 2008 at 4:12 pm

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